I love the spontaneous conversations. You remember when your parents sat you down and everything felt forced, no matter what you were talking about, like they were reading from a script? Yeah, me, too. I can remember doing that with my own kids occasionally, too. Sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes, if you pay close attention, an opportunity just comes up in everyday conversation. And then it’s authentic, real life conversations.
We took Rosie for a walk yesterday and walked past “the giant house.” All the houses in our neighborhood are nice, but this one takes the cake. It has three stories, a bazillion car driveway, a tiered pond with a little log cabin in the middle of it, huge windows, and sometimes, there’s a mama moose and her baby munching on the beautiful bushes right outside the living room windows. It’s one of those head-turner houses.
When we passed it Ben mentioned how rich those people are.
And there it was.
While we walked, we talked about how rich we are. Certainly not as rich as those people in that giant house, but richer than most of the people in the world. We have all we need, most of what we want. We eat three healthy meals a day and snacks, we have electricity, heat, clean water. We talked about how many people in the world eat once a day or less. We talked about ways we could use the money we have to help others instead of getting more of what we want while others don’t have what they need. We thought about the difference between wants and needs.
And then today we went out and filled up three boxes for Operation Christmas Child. They were so thoughtful, so caring. Each small gift was thought out. Would markers last as long as crayons might? Where are they going to put each item? Do you think she would like a doll or a stuffed animal better? And from Grace: “Can I get her the same giraffe that I have? Then you can send her a picture of me with mine so she’ll know how happy I am that she has one, too!”
When we checked out, Grace struck up a conversation with the checker about what all this stuff we were buying is for. About who it is for. It was touching to see her take the things I’d told her and use her own words. She wasn’t just reciting what I had said. The words were coming from her heart.
At the same time Ben noticed the small collection box for the Alaska Food Bank and asked me what it was for. I explained and he asked me for some of his money so he could put it in there. Then he explained what it was to Sam and Grace and they put their own money in, too.
My heart is full and happy today. If I can instill a true love for others in the hearts of my children, teach them how to be the hands and feet of Jesus, I’ll have done my job.
This conversation isn’t over. We’ll keep talking about the world we live in, the injustices, the poverty. I’m determined to raise children who take action to change these things, children who are aware of the realities of this world and who don’t take things for granted, children who give freely of what they have because they know they have more than they need.